Effective Date: April 05, 2023
Expiration Date: April 05, 2028
a. It is NASA policy:
(1) That all aircraft operations used by or in support of NASA, both public and civil use, are considered NASA aircraft operations. This includes all crewed-aircraft operations acquired, conducted, or sponsored by NASA but does not include scheduled airline passenger transportation. Examples of aircraft operations include, but are not limited to, astronaut training, program support, security, test and evaluation, system or sub-system development, research, or scientific projects and passenger transportation.
(2) That the operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) used by or in support of NASA that are not completely, physically constrained (e.g., UAS operations neither tethered nor operated completely within the confines of a caged/contained area) are considered NASA aircraft operations.
(3) To conduct its aviation-related missions and activities in a manner that, to the maximum amount practical, protects the public, workforce, and high-value assets in accordance with Attachment B.
(4) To manage the Agency's aircraft capability and enabling associated technical capability (as defined in NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 8600.1, NASA Capability Portfolio Management, this includes, but is not limited to, workforce, competencies, equipment, facilities, infrastructure, property, support, and technologies) to meet mission requirements efficiently and effectively in accordance with Attachment C.
(5) To manage documentation in accordance with NPR 1441.1, NASA Records Management Procedural Requirements, all records resulting from implementation of this policy.
a. This directive is applicable to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers.
b. This directive is applicable to other contractors, recipients of grants or cooperative agreements, or parties to other agreements only to the extent specified in contracts, grants or cooperative agreement, or other agreements.
c. In this directive, all mandatory actions (i.e., requirements) are denoted by statements containing the term "shall." The term "may" denotes a discretionary privilege or permission, "can" denotes statements of possibility or capability, "should" denotes a good practice and is recommended, but not required, "will" denotes expected outcome, and "are/is" denotes descriptive material.
d. In this directive, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.
a. Public Aircraft, Title 49 U.S.C., Chapter 401, Section 40102(a)(41).
b. Qualifications for Public Aircraft Status, Title 49 U.S.C., Chapter 401, Section 40125.
c. National Aeronautics and Space Act, 51 U.S.C. § 20113 (a).
a. Federal Management Regulation (FMR), Management of Government Aircraft, 41 CFR pt. 102-33.
b. Improving the Management and Use of Government Aircraft, OMB Circular A-126 (Revised).
c. NPR 1441.1, NASA Records Management Procedural Requirements.
d. NPR 7900.3, Aircraft Operations Management Manual.
e. NPR 8600.1, NASA Capability Portfolio Management Requirements.
a. The Associate Administrator, Mission Support Directorate (MSD):
(1) Has the authority to establish NASA's aircraft strategy, including centralized capability management, and the policies and procedures for aircraft acquisition, use, disposition, field Center location, associated facilities, and infrastructure.
(2) Keeps the Administrator fully informed of significant matters relating to NASA aircraft capability management and ensures that the aircraft management policies, including passenger transportation flight operations, are conducted in compliance with applicable Federal policies.
b. The Director, Aircraft Capability Management Office (ACMO):
(1) Provides functional leadership, independent assessments and staff support to the Administrator, and centralized management services as they relate to aircraft capability, capacity, and the efficient use of NASA aviation related resources.
(2) Serves as the Agency focal point for aviation management and, for such matters, acts as the Agency's Aircraft Capability Leader and Senior Aviation Management Official (SAMO) as required by FMR, Management of Government Aircraft, 41 CFR pt. 102-33. This includes acting as the Agency's liaison to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Defense, General Services Administration, the Interagency Committee for Aviation Policy (ICAP), other Government agencies, and industry.
(3) Provides required expertise with regard to NASA aircraft capability to support the Office of Procurement and the Office of Strategic Infrastructure activities.
(4) Develops architecture, policies, plans, and resourcing for governing the management of NASA's aircraft capability, including the implementation of Federal regulations; implementation of functional responsibilities required in paragraph B.9 in Attachment B, portfolio airworthiness and flight readiness processes; Commercial Aviation Service (CAS) process management; reimbursable flight activity process management; and change management of major changes to the organization and its operations.
(5) Establishes and manages the Aircraft Management Advisory Board (AMAB), in accordance with NPR 8600.1.
(6) Leads the development and implementation, in coordination with the AMAB, of NASA's aircraft strategic plan, measuring the effectiveness of that strategy, and developing recommendations for adjusting Agency strategic goals. This includes decisions and recommendations regarding the acquisition, disposition, transfer, and assignment of aircraft and associated support equipment to appropriate field Centers, as well as aircraft related facilities and infrastructure.
c. The Chief, Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA):
(1) Has the authority to establish policies governing the safety of NASA's aviation program, including aircraft operations, aircraft maintenance, aviation training, airworthiness, flight readiness reviews, and implementation of applicable Federal regulations and policies in a manner that protects the public, NASA workforce, and high-value assets (e.g., facilities and aircraft).
(2) Has the authority to establish an Agency Aviation Safety Program and define an Aviation Safety Management System (SMS).
(3) Has the authority to verify compliance to aviation operational policy and measures the effectiveness of the aviation safety program throughout the Agency by conducting audits and assessments of NASA flight operations and CAS.
(4) Keeps the Administrator fully informed of significant safety matters relating to NASA aviation operations.
d. The Director, Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, Institutional Safety Management Division (ISMD):
(1) Supports the Chief, SMA by establishing policies governing the safety of NASA's aviation program, including aircraft operations, aircraft maintenance, aviation training, airworthiness, flight readiness reviews, and implementation of applicable Federal regulations and policies; developing and leading NASA's Aviation Safety Program; and executing a compliance verification program that reviews all NASA Center flight operations and CAS to ensure compliance with NASA aircraft policies, both safety and capability management policies.
(2) Establishes and manages the NASA Inter-Center Aircraft Operating Panel (IAOP).
(3) Leads ISMD staff to develop policy governing the safety of NASA's aviation program, implement the Agency's aviation safety program, ensure compliance through oversight, and serve as the Agency's liaison to the ICAP and other Government agencies for aviation safety related activities.
(4) Provides a member to the AMAB, who provides a safety perspective to the capability management of the Agency's aircraft management and operations.
(5) Conducts safety risk management analyses of significant policy changes to NPR 7900.3, to identify risks, with mitigations, to NASA aviation operations.
e. The Associate Administrators of Mission Directorates:
(1) Have the responsibility for program and project success and performance. This includes defining, funding, evaluating, and establishing present and future NASA aircraft requirements, including CAS.
(2) Coordinate with Centers, ACMO, and ISMD as early as possible in the planning process when establishing program or project plans that involve the acquisition, reassignment, utilization, or disposition of an aircraft and the acquisition of aviation services through contracts, grants, and/or partnerships.
(3) Support ACMO's annual review of aircraft mission requirements, costs, and the overall effectiveness of aircraft operations that support their mission requirements.
(4) Provide a member to the AMAB if the Mission Directorate has mission success criteria that are dependent upon aircraft operations to provide a mission perspective to the capability management of the Agency's aircraft management and operations.
f. The Associate Administrator for the Office of International and Interagency Relations provides the interface between NASA and elements of other Federal agencies, provides policy guidance and coordination for NASA international activities, and requests aircraft flight clearances from foreign governments through the Department of State.
g. The NASA IAOP provides assistance, counsel, and recommendations to the Chief, SMA, Aircraft Capability Manager, Center Directors, and other NASA Senior Management Officials concerning Agency policies and other matters related to NASA aircraft operations.
h. The AMAB is responsible for Agency-level decisions and recommendations, including investments and divestments, that balance cost and mission effectiveness. The AMAB provides decisions and recommendations regarding aircraft strategy, capability requirements, resourcing commitments, NASA aircraft fleet composition (including UAS), NASA's approach to managing CAS and reimbursable flight activities, aircraft utilization and stationing, and aircraft-related facilities and infrastructure.
i. The Center Directors:
(1) Have institutional authority for and are responsible for the safe, efficient, and effective conduct of aircraft operations in support of assigned Agency missions, goals, and objectives.
(2) Develop Center policies and procedures, including the implementation of instructions, necessary to ensure all NASA aircraft operations comply with NASA aircraft management, operations, and safety policies established in this NPD and in NPR 7900.3.
(3) Report to the ACMO aircraft costs and performance metrics in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidelines and NPR 8600.1.
(4) For Centers that conduct inhabited aircraft flight operations, sustain a program-independent flight operations office that establishes, through coordination with the regional lead, the ACMO/AMAB, and ISMD/IAOP, the level of required resources necessary to ensure the safe execution of assigned missions, and the fulfilment of functional area roles and responsibilities in paragraph B.9 in Attachment B for the Center.
(5) Ensure all flight operations conducted within, assigned to, or on behalf of the Center are evaluated and approved by recognized NASA airworthiness and flight readiness processes, and that they are overseen by a NASA aircraft management organization.
(6) Provide personnel to support the Agency's compliance verification program of Center aircraft operations.
(7) Manage, maintain, and utilize NASA airfields and helipads, when applicable, in a safe, effective, and cost-efficient manner in accordance with NPR 7900.3.
(8) Ensure the CAS review process has been completed and each vendor's ability to safely conduct all proposed flight operations have been evaluated by a cognizant NASA flight operation organization prior to contract award for aviation services and conduct CAS surveillance post award in accordance with NPR 7900.3.
(9) Ensure the Center's partnership office obtains concurrence from the Center Chief of the Flight Operations during the planning stage of all Space Act Agreements involving aviation services to ensure that the agreement complies with the NASA aviation safety program requirements.
j. The Assistant Administrator for Procurement establishes processes that ensure concurrence from the Center Chief of Flight Operations during the planning stage of all contracts for aviation services or that may require aviation services through a subcontractor to ensure that the contract complies with NASA aviation safety program requirements.
k. The Director of the Logistics Management Division supports the acquisition, disposition, and inventory management of NASA aircraft operations to ensure application of NASA logistics management policy.
l. Regional Leads (Johnson Space Center, Armstrong Flight Research Center, and Langley Research Center):
(1) Represent the region as a member of the AMAB and communicates the status (e.g., asset inventories, assigned missions, readiness, capabilities, capacities, and resource requirements) for each Center in the region to the AMAB.
(2) Establish, in coordination with Center Chiefs of Flight Operations, ACMO/AMAB, and ISMD, the assignment of functional area roles and responsibilities required in paragraph B.9 in Attachment B, for each field Center within the region, that are tailored to each Center's roles, missions, and assigned aircraft.
(3) Optimize within the region, make decisions, and provide recommendations that are in the Agency's best interest and in alignment with NASA's Aircraft Strategic Plan.
(4) Ensure the effective and efficient use of aviation capabilities and associated resources, alignment of mission support structures, and the standardization of processes that are consistent with each Center's roles and responsibilities, within the region.
m. The Center Chief of Flight Operations:
(1) Is the senior line manager responsible for the execution of assigned aircraft missions and ensuring the adherence of standards for planning, organizing, directing, and leading the operations, maintenance, modification, safety, and support of NASA or contracted aircraft in accordance with NPR 7900.3.
(2) Concurs, in collaboration with the aircraft regional lead, with any Center contract or agreement, including all Space Act Agreements involving NASA aviation capabilities, prior to contract award or execution of the agreement.
(3) Works in close collaboration with the aircraft regional lead to ensure all critical functional areas of responsibility are clearly defined, appropriately scaled, and meet both mission requirements and NASA policy.
(4) Routinely communicates Center aircraft status to the regional lead (asset inventories, assigned missions, readiness, capabilities, capacities, and resource requirements).
n. Managers at all levels are responsible for supporting the safe conduct of aircraft operations that involve their programs or personnel and ensuring their programs meet the requirements of this NPD and NPR 7900.3.
o. The designated pilot-in-command is directly responsible for, and is the final authority of, the safe operation of the aircraft, the safety of personnel on board, and determining whether the flight can be accomplished safely.
p. The Chief Health and Medical Officer has the authority to establish policies governing NASA's aviation medical program.
NPD 7900.4D, NASA Aircraft Operations Management, dated July 07, 2014.
ACMO Aircraft Capability Management Office
AMAB Aircraft Management Advisory Board
CAS Commercial Aviation Service
FAA Federal Aviation Administration
FMR Federal Management Regulation
IAOP Inter-Center Aircraft Operating Panel
ICAP Interagency Committee for Aviation Policy
ISMD Institutional Safety Management Division
MSD Mission Support Directorate
NPR NASA Procedural Requirements
SAMO Senior Aviation Management Official
SMA Safety and Mission Assurance
SMS Safety Management System
UAS Unmanned Aircraft Systems
B.1 Safely conducting aircraft operations, both public use and civil use, in accordance with Federal laws and regulations (e.g., Management of Government Aircraft, 41 CFR pt. 102-33).
B.2 Developing and implementing NASA requirements for aviation operations to enable NASA to conduct public use operations in accordance with 41 CFR pt. 102-33.
B.3 Accomplishing all aircraft operations with embarked passengers (non- qualified, non-participatory, non-aircrew personnel) in compliance with all applicable FAA regulations for civil use.
B.4 Performing oversight of public use and civil operations, conducted within or on behalf of the Agency, to ensure compliance with NASA requirements and applicable FAA regulations.
B.5 Conducting all aircraft flight operations in accordance with NPR 7900.3 to ensure such activities are duly authorized, conducted with airworthy aircraft, and operated by qualified flight crews.
B.6 Establishing a change management process that assesses major changes to the Agency's aircraft capability and conducting safety risk management analysis of the changes to identify risks, with mitigations, to NASA aviation operations.
B.7 Ensuring all NASA aircraft services contracts and agreements comply with NASA aircraft operational safety policies established in this NPD and in NPR 7900.3.
B.8 Managing and operating NASA airfields and helipads in accordance with NPR 7900.3. B.9 Establishing a program-independent flight operations management structure that includes the inherently governmental functional responsibilities of: Chief of Flight Operations, Aviation Safety Officer (ASO), Chief of Maintenance, Chief of Quality Assurance, and Chief of Engineering. To ensure a safety reporting path, independent of operations, the roles of the Chief of Flight Operations and ASO cannot be performed by the same individual.
B.10 Establishing a program-independent flight operations management structure that includes separate processes for airworthiness and flight readiness.
B.11 Providing the pilot-in-command the right to refuse any flight, or continuance of a flight, if in the pilot's opinion any condition affecting the aircraft or its operation is considered hazardous, unsafe, or would violate international, Federal, or state laws and regulations.
C.1 Managing aircraft, both public use and civil use, in accordance with Federal laws and regulations (e.g., 41 CFR, pt. 102-33 and Improving the Management and Use of Government Aircraft, OMB Circular A-126).
C.2 Establishing and maintaining an aircraft capability management model in compliance with NPR 8600.1.
C.3 Ensuring that aircraft and their operations are conducted only for the purposes of supporting NASA's mission including, when duly authorized, official travel.
C.4 Compiling, analyzing, and communicating Agency-level, mission-derived aircraft requirements and available resources, including CAS and UAS.
C.5 Optimizing the use of resources required to achieve NASA mission goals and objectives through researching, deriving, and evaluating alternative Agency capability configurations, proportional commercialization solutions, and operational scaling to align with aircraft capability strategic goals.
C.6 Establishing and sustaining a decision-making body regarding integrated Agency aircraft capability. C.7 Enabling and developing standardized processes and procedures for the procurement of CAS and other aviation-related logistics support contracts to fulfill NASA's mission.
C.8 Establishing an Agency-level aircraft capability strategic plan for investment, divestment, and optimization that includes category, composition, quantity, supporting logistics, and stationing / location.
C.9 Establishing the requirements for the acquisition, disposition, and resource sharing of all NASA aircraft, applicable aircraft parts, and ground support equipment and services, including those shared with other Federal agencies.
C.10 Developing, implementing, and maintaining an aircraft regional leadership model that maximizes the efficient use of aviation resources for NASA mission accomplishment.
This document does not bind the public, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is uncontrolled when printed. Check the NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library to verify that this is the correct version before use: https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov.